US must not follow Israel into war ‘like a stupid mule’ — says Brzezinski

The National Iranian American Council had a panel in Washington on Monday about US-Iranian relations. The video is now up at CSPAN. Some notes from watching it:

Rolf Ekeus, Swedish diplomat, disarmament expert:

Truman and Eisenhower dealt with Stalin; the United States should be talking to Iran. The countries have mutual interests, notably the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

“It is high time that the US and Iran began negotiating.”

Stop talking about regime change in Iran. This is not our business. Reestablish diplomatic relations. Have the courage to talk.

James Walsh, expert in international security at MIT:

Iran should be in the category of other American “frenemies” with whom we talk, like Russia and China.

“I think the Israelis could tell themselves a story where they would” end up striking Iran, but it would be a giant mistake. The first order of business for Iran would be to get nuclear weapons. There is evidence that the Israeli attack on the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981 is what motivated Saddam Hussein to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Zbigniew Brzezinski:

Brzezinski argued for deterrence of the Iranian nuclear threat, should it materialize. “We succeeded in deterring not only the Soviet Union, led by Stalin at one point” but also China, at a time when its leader was pooh-poohing the idea of nuclear war as no big deal.

“And China today has a minimal nuclear deterrent…. This meets their defense needs. And we have in a more tneuouos fashion succeeded in deterring North Korea even though it is occasionally threatening and volatile. But I think the North Koreans know that we are committed to the security of our partners, and what’s even more important the Chinese know that we are, and the Chinese don’t want a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula.”

Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council asks Brzezinski, In the event that Israel attacks Iran, what would you tell Obama?

Brzezinski:

I don’t think there is any implicit obligation of the United States to follow you know like a stupid mule whatever the Israelis do. If they decide to start a war, simply on the assumption that we will automatically be drawn into it, I think it is the obligation of friendship to say well you’re not going to be making national decisions for us.

I think that the United States has the right to have its own national security policy. I think most Americans would agree with that, and therefore I think clarity on this issue is important and especially if we commit ourselves explicitly and bindingly to Israel’s security as part of the formula that I advocate. That is a formula designed to freeze any threat into a nonthreat, unless one can convincingly argue that a country of 85 million people has no higher priority than an act of collective suicide. And I don’t think that is sustained by any evidence whatsoever.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 9 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. radii says:

    Z-Big has felt secure for a few years now to say what he really thinks about israel … one wonders why more retired or older leaders in the foreign policy and defense establishment don’t come out also?

  2. American says:

    ”I think that the United States has the right to have its own national security policy. ”

    Well every country does…..but unfortunately our’s was ‘sold’ to Israel.
    I tell ya….this abdication of US sovereignty to a minority foreign interest is gonna be THE subject of the century for historians when and if it ever ends.
    Never, ever, been anything similar to it in the history of the world nations…it’s a first.

  3. Les says:

    All roads lead to Rome. All US major media services Tel Aviv. No alternatives are offered.

  4. pabelmont says:

    “Have the courage to talk.” Yes! To Iran! (Don’t be scared of speaking in Farsi, they’ve got guys who can speak English.)

    I should have thought that the USA should talk to any country’s government if that country is willing to talk AND we have a zone of mutual interests (probably conflicts, maybe cooperation, maybe both).

    We should absolutely NOT talk to governments where we have neither conflicts nor cooperations to discuss. What would we discuss, the weather? Shouldn’t waste time on that. (Global warming is another matter.)

    But where does “courage” come into it? Put another way, WHO is threatening the USA’s Admin/DoS into NOT talking to Iran, NK, Hamas, Hezbollah, MEK, Wikileaks, etc.? Is Congress threatening the administration?

    Could (Oh! surely not!) AIPAC or BIG-BANKs or BIG-OIL be threatening our own, our very, very own government? Perish the thought!

  5. The “stupid mule” description is most apt, as applied to Congress. The tabu against MSM coverage of the way in which our Congress passes virtually anything AIPAC wants, without even reading it, and AIPAC enforces its dictates by threats of destruction in the re-election cycle, including, at times, MSM complicity, remains a scandalous, even treasonous wound on the body politic. Time for investigative journalists to expose the whole process.

  6. If I were president of the US I would make a peace and friendship treaty with Iran. Iran would accept it with both arms and it would save the US a lot of trouble. It would also be good for the security of Israel, suffering as this nation is from paranoia about a non-existent nuclear threat. A friendly Iran wouldn’t threaten a friend of a friend.

  7. Eva Smagacz says:

    Brzezinski also called Hezbollah a “so-called terrorist organization”. Which means that at least some see Hezbollah for what it is: a legitimate resistance force against Israeli aggression. And if they see that, then they also see Hamas as a legitimate resistance force. It just cannot be said out laud if you are not comfortably retired.

  8. Citizen says:

    I guess the Pentagon Papers and Watergate are one thing, the Israel Lobby a sacred cow.